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New Shetlander cover 261

Issue Number 261 - Hairst 2012

New Shetlander No 261 is now on sale, with a striking cover photo by Kevin Jones, acknowledging the national ‘summer of sport’. In Da wadder eye John Cumming also looks at sport and its effects on us. The editorial welcomes Mareel, with some thoughts about the ferocity of the opposition it has faced so far.

Gordon Johnston’s researches have unearthed a piece of blockbuster-style action from the days of the old American prairie steam trains, featuring a former Cunningsburgh man. The title says it all: Block the Limited: there’s a man on the cowcatcher!

Many readers will be pleased to find a new poem by Stella Sutherland, My Foula 1934-1943, a reflection of the island community where she lived when young. It is teamed with an unusual photograph of 1933 Foula by Jack Peterson, courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives. Jen Hadfield’s poems include The kids, her winning poem from the 2012 Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition. Two local teenagers, Peter Ratter and Julie Dennison of Brae High School, contribute the pieces which gained them joint first prize in the 13-18 age group of Shetland Library’s Young Writer of the Year competition: Peter’s imaginative poem, Therteen wyes o lookin at a tushkar, and Julie’s unusual monologue Mental notes.  

Jim Taylor’s story, The Olympic flame, is a humorous tale, set in a small community somewhere in the north, where people have ‘issues’ as often as anywhere else. Logie Barrow, a frequent visitor to Shetland, writes Sheep’s trials, a light-hearted look at one of Shetland’s institutions from an unusual viewpoint. Laureen Johnson’s dialogue, Living space, depicts a modern visit to the ruin of an old house. Waas Show dialect writers, aged from 6 to 12, provide a lightsome feature, including trows, da wadder, and da Press gang, among other things.

David Waters, whose work on wartime Unst has previously appeared in the magazine, now tells the story of the first Unst radar station, on the Keen of Hamar - its conclusion may surprise readers. Joanne Wishart’s article The first survey of Shetland, deals with an intriguing character, James Robertson of Gossabrough, who completed the first and possibly best survey ofJamaica. His survey of Shetland was in the early years of the nineteeth century.

Fans of George Mackay Brown will be interested to hear that a new archive of his papers – twenty-one boxes in all - can now be accessed at the Orkney Library and Archive. Linden Bicket, whose project this was, describes how the archive came about, with many examples of its content.

There are also new poems by Christine De Luca, Jim Mainland, Paolo Dante and Katherine Robinson, and several book reviews. The New Shetlander costs £2.

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